Carmarthenshire (Welsh: Sir Gaerfyrddin) is a unitary authority in the south west of Wales and the largest of the thirteen historic counties. The three largest towns are Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford. Carmarthen is the county town and administrative centre of Carmarthenshire but the most populous settlement is Llanelli.
Carmarthenshire is mainly an agricultural county, apart from the southeastern part which at one time was heavily-industrialised with coal mining, steel-making and tin-plating.
It is a large county with a very varied environment. In the North East corner lies the region that was once Britain's last bastion of the Red Kite, while in the South West you have, in winter, the UK's largest flock of Scoters.
In addition to the top sites listed in the section below the following offer some great birding opportunities: Burry Port Harbour (waders, wildfowl, gulls, terns, etc.) Cefn Sidan Sands [Pembrey CP] (waders, Scoters, divers, etc.) St Ishmaels/Ferryside (waders, gulls, etc.) Laugharne (waders, wildfowl, etc.). Black Mountain [Mynydd Ddu] (raptors, Dotterel on passage, etc.) Llyn Y Fan Fach (winter wildfowl, passage migrants, etc.) Talley Lakes (wildfowl, grebes, etc.) Brechfa Forest (Nightjars, Kites, Crossbills, Redpolls, etc.)
*See places other birders go Birding...
The banks of the River Tywi, six miles S W of Llandeilo, just off the B4300. Sadly, the wintering W-F Geese [including the occasional Lesser] seem to have disappeared in the last five years - Breeding Mute Swans, Little Ringed Plover, Sand Martins, Goosanders, Little Grebes, Kingfishers, etc. Winter: Large flocks of Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Mute swans, Goosanders, Lapwings, Curlews; a smattering of Whoopers and - usually - 1 or 2 Bewicks and [in the car park] Tree Sparrows. Nearby Gelli Aur Country Park [SN590190] has all the usual western woodland visitors, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, etc.; Marsh and Willow Tits breed, plus Tree Pipits; Red Kite are usually present and Goshawks breed in the conifers.
Enjoy a walk through enchanting alder and oak woodland, past fast-flowing, spectacular rivers. This reserve is set in the heart of the beauty of mid Wales. You should have no problem spotting a red kite, and in the summer there'll also be pied flycatchers, redstarts, common sandpipers, dippers and grey wagtails. As the trail is set in a steep-sided valley, some parts are rugged and steep, and can be slippery when wet.
Ten miles west of Llanelli, on the A484. A pleasant spot with free parking. A good site for waders and wildfowl [summer excepted], with semi-rarities occasionally turning up at the sewage farm [Firecrest etc.].
Llanelli Wetlands Centre WWT
The WWT Llanelli (Penclacwydd) Reserve is on the A484, 2 1/2 miles West of Loughor Bridge, on the eastern edge of Llanelli. You have, of course, to pay to get in [unless you are a member]. Wales' largest flock of Little Egrets [50 - Aug 2000]. All the usual waders, including a resident non-breeding flock of Black-tailed Godwit; large winter flocks of Pintail, Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal, etc.; Brent [Db], the only reliable migrant geese and very few migrant swans; all the common warblers breed; SE and LE owls in winter; L Grebe, C Redshank, Lapwing, Greylag, C Sandpiper, Shelduck, etc., breed [L-r Plover?]. Rarities regular though sporadic [2000: Grt White Egret, American Wigeon, B-w Teal, etc.]. Peregrines ever present; Hen Harriers and Merlin regular.
Pendine is ten miles SW of St Clears, on the A4066 [via Dylan's Laugharne]. One of the best spots for observing [late October to mid March] the 15,000+ Common Scoters in Carmarthen Bay. A fair smattering of Velvet's is ever present; also small flocks of Red-throated Divers, with Great Northern and Black-throated Divers's regularly occurring [The Sands were once famous for the breaking of world land speed records!].
Maesteg, Capel Selon, Drefach, Llanelli SA14 7BS
01269 831496 or 07748 970124
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 295
County Bird - Red Kite Milvus milvus
Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
Places to Stay
A cottage holiday to remember is assured at our holiday cottage near Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire in south west Wales. The holiday cottage at Blaenfforest stands in a private and secluded situation, in a perfect holiday location convenient for Ceredigion and Cardigan Bay, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. The original Welsh stone cottage is surrounded by ten acres of idyllic countryside, rich with wildlife. There are shops, pubs and restaurants within 2 miles…
Llety Mieri Self-Catering Cottage
Three single storey self-catering cottages in the Towy valley 2 miles from Llandeilo. The stone cottages, which are overlooked by Dinefwr Castle and Castle Woods, are next to a large orchard and wild flower meadow which is surrounded by ancient oaks and is home to a wide variety of birds…
Plasnewydd-Hideaway - Brecon Beacons National Park
Holiday in Wales in this former Welsh farmhouse - a private country retreat with pool and sauna, set in its own 35 acres of stunning Welsh countryside on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Carmarthenshire, South West Wales. The local Welsh countryside and the cottage grounds are a haven for wildlife and a birdwatcher's paradise. Plasnewydd is ideal as a base for walking, cycling or exploring this beautiful part of Wales by car. Or indeed, come here just to pamper yourself - relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility and see how Plasnewydd lives up to its name of Hideaway!
Carmarthenshire Bird Club
The Carmarthenshire Bird Club exists to promote the observation, study and recording of the wild birds and wild-bird populations of Carmarthenshire. The club also organises meetings for its members which include field trips and talks on wildlife topics…
The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is one of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK. We are the fourth largest in area, covering from Cardiff and Caerphilly in the east to Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire in the west, and include 3 of the West Wales islands amongst our 90 or so nature reserves - Nature Centre, Parc Slip, Fountain Road, Tondu, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan CF32 0EH…
The Ystwyth Valley woodlands are a mixture of broadleaf and conifer mixes which gives good habitat for Red Kite…
Red Kite, Sparrowhawks, Peregrine, Goshawk, Buzzards, Merlins, Kestrels, Ravens, Curlews, WoodCock, Nightjar, Cuckoos, Barn owls, Little Owls, Woodpeckers (all 3), Goldcrest, Warblers, Crossbills…
Enjoy a walk through enchanting alder and oak woodland, past fast-flowing, spectacular rivers. This reserve is set in the heart of the beauty of mid Wales. You should have no problem spotting a red kite, and in the summer there'll also be pied flycatchers, redstarts, common sandpipers, dippers and grey wagtails. As the trail is set in a steepsided valley, some parts are rugged and steep, and can be slippery when wet. A boardwalk takes you through oakwood and then the trail continues to the fast-flowing river.